Big Little Lies star Laura Dern combines Hollywood memorabilia with Bohemian touches for a truly unique vibe.
The award-winning actress Laura Dern found a minimalist 1953 post-and-beam home by Calvin C. Straub (of the powerhouse midcentury firm Buff, Straub and Hensman), on a lot in Brentwood’s rustic-turned-tony Mandeville Canyon. Lush and jungle-like, the piece of land looked like it could have come straight from the set of Jurassic Park.
Immediately after seeing it, she called close pal and architect Michael Kovac, whom she was originally introduced to by film director Steven Spielberg. Kovac found the house in solid condition, but tired and dark.
Director David Lynch, a midcentury architecture buff whom Dern first worked with on Blue Velvet in the 1980s, was also someone she called on for advice early in the project. A few seasons’ worth of renovations opened up the three-bedroom, 2,464 square-foot home immensely. They replaced walls with glass, added a skylight and pool, brightened the interior palette, expanded the kitchen and removed awkward, tiny spaces and a dark backyard hedge that blocked light from radiating down the hill. As a result, the home has a beautiful flow, with the inside and out bleeding together.
Last winter, Dern brought in interior designer Trip Haenisch on the recommendation of close friend Courteney Cox. Haenisch’s job, in her words was to “pull things together, continue to feel breath and warmth, and honor the architecture and keep that story going.” He acted as a curator in many ways, blending a fifty-fifty mixture of the “many interesting things she already owned” with his finds. “Laura values the history of her family,” Haenisch explains. “There are so many goodies, but when you hear the story you go, ‘Wow!’”
Indeed, as Haenisch alludes, film buffs would drool on a tour around the Dern’s home: a miniature Tyrannosaurus rex figurine guards the front door—a gift from Spielberg upon wrapping the first Jurassic Park. A trio of Golden Globe statuettes hides behind stacks of books (including the fake An Imperial Affliction book from A Fault In Our Stars) on hallway shelves. The period shoes she wore to literal pieces while filming Rambling Rose (which earned both Dern and her mother, actress Diane Ladd, Academy Award nominations in 1992) decorate the family room.
The hat her dad, actor Bruce Dern, wins at the end of Nebraska lives in her daughter, Jaya’s room. In her closet—which went from a typical 1950s-style minuscule wardrobe to a walk-in upon renovation—hangs the dress Lucille Ball wore in I Love Lucy’s iconic “Vitameatavegamin” episode. And in the room of her 15-year-old son, Ellery, is the exact Ralph Lauren–designed suit donned by her dad in 1974’s The Great Gatsby. It was a gift from a dear friend, Eddie Vedder, who happens to be as rabid a collector as Dern.
She calls the living room “one of her favorite spaces in the world.” Made up of a 1970s Mario Bellini leather sofa, Marc Phillips rug, Hollywood at Home pillows, collected ceramics and musical instruments, it has Dern’s touch with Haenisch’s influence – he added pieces she never would have introduced herself. A vintage Vladimir Kagan sofa, reupholstered in faux white fur, is “a very beloved piece but something you would never think of ever having with your children and black dog.” He also facilitated certain wishlist items. One was an Alexandra Hedison triptych of emerald-hued trees, which infuses the saturated dining room—where a giant claro walnut slab table is surrounded by George Nakashima seating—with leafy life and wraps the backyard into the house, enhancing its treehouse vibes. The other is Dern’s prized “Umbrella Girl” by Banksy, which hangs off-center above her bed.
For a serious art aficionado, the one “heartbreak” of her glass house is a lack of hanging space. Surfboards and skateboards, which she considers art, too, lean against outdoor surfaces. The multi-person collaboration turned out just that: a vibrant, expressive, storied living space that perfectly reflects her.
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Inside Laura Dern’s Rustic Los Angeles Home | Celebrity Homes | Architectural Digest